Youth learn basics at track, field clinic

USAF: Airman 1st Class Jette Carr Brian Stacy, the athletic director for Clovis Municipal Schools, and Staff Sgt. Carlton Jones, medical technician, 27th Special Operations Maintenance Operations Squadron, help Jones’ daughter Jordan line up on the starting block on May 5 at the Cannon track.

By Airman 1st Class Jette Carr: 27th SOW Public Affairs

“Go!” shouted Brian Stacy, the athletic director for Clovis Municipal Schools, who at that moment was coaching a rambunctious group of kids from the Cannon Youth Center. Children sprinted across the track, pulling those crazy faces that can only be made during a moment of great concentration and exertion. Each wanted to be the first one back to the finish line.

This was the scene during a track and field clinic sponsored by the Youth Center, May 4-5 at the Cannon Air Force Base track.

The clinic was split into two days by age groups, the younger of which did high-knees, kick-backs, sprints, as well as a half-mile run using “last person up” formation to encourage different running tempos. They were also taught the mechanics of running such as breathing, stretching, and the correct form and techniques for cool down.

The head coach for this group, Tech. Sgt. Nina Sellers, 27th Special Operations Maintenance Operations Squadron, said she supported the clinic because it gives children a chance to try something new in a fun, free and safe environment with volunteers who have a vested interest in their health and well-being.

“The smile on the children’s faces as they were praised for executing a technique correctly was my favorite part,” she said. “When we re-grouped the children enthusiastically discussed what they had learned.”

Sellers said she has two daughters who love to run with her. The younger of the two, Elyse, 6 years old, accompanied her mother two weeks ago to the Cannon Running Club meeting, where they ran 4.25 miles. Her daughters were excited to go the track and field clinic for both days.

With the older group, run by Stacy, they learned about how to set up a starting block, breathing techniques, proper hydration, and correcting form. The children also learned different ways to compete in track such as relay races with a baton, shot-put, and discus.

While the workshop was primarily meant for youth, several parents attended and listened to tips on how to support their children if they ever decided to compete in track.

Getting his daughter, Jordan, involved in track is just what her father, Staff Sgt. Carlton Jones, medical technician, 27th Special Operations Maintenance Operations Squadron, said he thinks she needs to put that bottled up 8-year-old energy to good use. Jordan first found out about the track and field clinic through the Youth Center and asked her father if she could go. A cross-country veteran from his high school days, Jones agreed.

“Getting her involved will show her how to push herself,” he said. “Being disciplined in sports will help her to become disciplined in the other facets of her life.”